Artichokes and spinach are perfectly paired with pepper jack cheese in this rich and spicy dip, which is Chef Lia’s spin on a classic party favorite. Serve it on top of your favorite crackers, crostini, breadsticks or even vegetable chips made from cucumbers, carrots and zucchini. Use your imagination to spice up your next cocktail party.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups yellow onion, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced
½ cup sweet red bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1 ½ cups half-and-half
3 ¾ cups pepper jack cheese, grated
1 cup tomatoes, finely diced
½ cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium- high heat, and lightly sauté the onions, jalapeño pepper and red bell peppers until the onion is translucent and soft. Add the chopped artichoke hearts and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes.
Add the half-and-half and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and slowly add the grated pepper jack cheese and continue to stir until the cheese is smooth and completely melted. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the tomatoes and spinach, stirring well to mix completely. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve.
This simple dish can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
For an added touch, place the dip in an oven-safe dish, sprinkle some of the cheese on top and place under the broiler until cheese is melted (pictured above).